Breaking up the band


For any long-running band, it’s hard to keep up the same standards, especially following early notoriety.

SPND’s management is no exception, over the last decade or so they have gone from the smash-hit first project ‘The AMAD Plan’ which drew huge international interest and meant they were so popular even people in Vienna were desperate to speak to them. They followed up with the middling-second album ‘SDAAT’, which still drew attention but was difficult for their fan base to understand, even if they were still doing many of the same things they did on AMAD. An ill-fated, short-lived collaboration with the Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT or دانشگاه مالک اشتر) followed. Finally they landed on the most recent incarnation, the self-titled ‘SPND’ (سازمان پژوهش و نوآوری دفاعی or سپند) – a project apparently hindered by in-fighting and funding issues.

Despite the dwindling success and effectiveness, one admirable trait has been sticking to the original line-up. While some, much like the drummer in Spinal Tap, have been and gone in quick succession, SPND have stayed true to the people that provided that groundbreaking first hit, AMAD.

But sometimes you just need to change it up if you want to stay relevant.

If Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخری زاده) is David St. Hubbins, then Akbar Motallebizadeh (علی اکبر مطلب زاده) and Mohammad Sadegh Naseri (محمد صادق ناصری) are Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls. They have been the engine room for Fakhrizadeh since AMAD, and have recently been busy heading up two of SPND’s most sensitive and important departments, Shahid Karimi (شهید کریمی) and Shahid Fakhar Moghaddam (شهید فخار مقدم).


Despite all of the good work they’ve done together, it seems almost inevitable that there will be a parting of ways to concentrate on ‘other projects’. They can’t go on forever and with the future of SPND unclear, I doubt the two lieutenants will want to hang around longer than they have to.

But if Motallebizadeh and Naseri were to leave, what they take with them is almost impossible to measure – years of experience and loyalty, intimate knowledge of the most secretive parts of Iran’s nuclear project, and maybe most importantly, how to work with Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Without the original line-up, Fakhrizadeh resembles another much derided figure of the rock world, Axl Rose. He will be more isolated than ever and picking the right people to replace them might just be the only thing standing between SPND and complete irrelevance.

Redline feels an SPND version of GooGoosh Academy (آکادمی موسیقی گوگوش) coming on.

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